There are two in-game concepts called Poise.

  • The player has the stat Poise, which is obtained from Armor, the Lothric Knight Long Spear, Yhorm's Greatshield and the Wolf Ring.
  • And the hidden value "poise health" that determines when your "hyperarmor frames" are interrupted.
    The visible stat Poise acts as a defense stat for this poise health, reducing how much poise damage is inflicted by enemy attacks.

The stagger resistance given by the skills Unfaltering PrayerPerseverance, Stone Flesh, and the pyromancy Iron Flesh are unaffected by your Poise stat. These have their own independent "poise health". The Great Hammer version of Perseverance, however, does activate the player's poise.

 

 The ability to withstand attacks without breaking form 

How Poise Works

In a nutshell, you are only able to resist stagger during "hyperarmor" frames, and your Poise stat determines how many attacks you can take before you can be staggered out of hyperarmor frames. Because hyperarmor frames are not fully uninterruptible and use Poise to determine whether or not you can be interrupted, it would be more accurate to call them "active poise". In the game's code, the supposedly deactivated value for poise is in fact activated during animations with active poise.

All characters using the player model, including the player character, most NPCs, and non-player invaders, have a hidden poise health of 100. All attacks that hit the character will reduce this value, and when the value reaches 0 the character will be staggered regardless of whether or not they are in the middle of an attack with poise frames. The stat Poise will reduce how much poise damage a weapon inflicts to this poise health, by a percentage equal to the amount of Poise. Your Poise stat is always passively reducing incoming poise damage, whether or not you are using an attack with active poise. However, you are only able to resist stagger during active poise, and at any other time you can be staggered regardless of how much poise health you have left.

Furthermore, all attacks and actions with active poise will give a multiplier to your current poise health (usually negative), allowing you to take more or fewer hits before being staggered. The modifiers for normal R1 and R2 attacks on weapons with active poise were greatly reduced in the 1.08 patch, to the point where characters need very high poise to resist stagger from one or two attacks now. However, as of the 1.08 patch, attacks with active poise will now automatically refresh your poise health back to 80% of full after modifiers. For example, if you are using a Greataxe weapon (maximum poise health for R1 is 27) and you have 0.1 poise health before the attack, then as soon as your attack starts your poise will instantly reset to 21.6.  What this means is you can now resist stagger from one or two attacks every time you attack, which allows tanky, high poise builds to play much more aggressively. Weapon arts with active poise have much higher modifiers than normal attacks do, being anywhere from 0.30 to 2.00 vs 0.10 to 0.27, and weapon arts will refresh your poise health back to 100% of full instead of 80%. Attacks that are blocked by a shield do not reduce your poise health at all.

Your poise health does not regenerate, but will immediately refresh back to 100% every 30 seconds or when it's reduced to 0, whichever comes first. In addition, the 1.08 patch made it so that your poise health resets to 80% of full whenever you use a normal attack with active poise and to 100% of its full value whenever you use a weapon art with active poise.

To use poise, you need to know these things: how much poise damage your opponent's attacks deal, what the poise health of your attacks is, and how much Poise from armor you need to reduce your opponent's poise damage far enough to not drop your poise health to zero. In addition, since your poise health resets back to 80% with every normal attack, it would also be helpful to have enough poise so that 20.01% of your poise health is left over, as this will allow you to resist stagger through your opponent's attack every time you attack. For weapons that only have active poise during their weapon arts, this is less important since weapon arts reset poise health back to 100% instead of 80%.

Active poise is found on certain weapon attacks including, but not limited to, Ultra Greatsword, Greathammer, and Greataxe R1s, Greatsword two-handed R1s, fully charged R2 attacks, most Weapon Skills, and the medium and heavy rolls. The 1.08 patch also gave active poise to two-handed Hammer attacks. Testing is still ongoing to determine which attacks have poise frames and what their poise multipliers are.

Sources:

https://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls3/comments/4vnan9/how_poise_works/

https://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls3/comments/58ru20/how_poise_works_in_108/

https://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls3/comments/58ppik/hard_data_about_poise/

 

Stat Poise Information

Each piece of armor has a Poise rating, and your total Poise is the sum of each of your armor pieces. Naked characters have 0 Poise. In general, wearing heavier or more protective armor increases Poise.

As of patch 1.07. the Poise formula seems to reduce the effects of poise for armor and rings added once the player has any poise. Every piece added that increases poise will be subjected to the following formula:

    

 

So if adding the Wolf Ring (12.5 poise) on a character with 10 poise:

Weapons & Poise Damage

Information via Gamefaqs (Some values were changed in the 1.08 patch and may no longer be accurate. They will be updated as soon as the new values are found.)

 Trivia

For a long time, it was believed that the poise stat either didn't work or was intentionally disabled on release, due to a player finding a value in the game's code that determined whether or not poise was active and seeing that the value was 'off' by default. It was later discovered by other people that this value was only turned on during what was thought to be hyperarmor frames at the time, and that poise damage is constantly being calculated at all times but you are only able to resist stagger during attacks or actions with hyperarmor frames.

Boulder Heave is unique among spells in that it also inflicts poise damage. If an opponent is struck by the debris, it will deal a large amount of poise damage. However, spells and skills that cause knockdown do not take poise into account.

Enemies that do not use the player model, such as Darkwraiths, Silver Knights, and Black Knights, do not follow the same rules for poise that the player character and NPCs do.

 

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    • Anonymous

      24 Sep 2020 04:19  

      Excuses, excuses and more excuses to spam the r1 and nothing else. "Learn how to spam r1 when the other attacks, get some knowledge about armor values despite being next to useless due to their ****ty stats (even havel's is paper-mache), etc..." stop it. If you like to spam r1 like no tomorrow, go ahead. But stop lying about an useless feature like "poise". Just ask about faith builds to see how useless poise is.

      • Anonymous

        09 Sep 2020 19:19  

        It takes a fair amount of knowledge about the armors in the game but being able to measure out poise values from what they're wearing is really helpful when it comes to trades. I think poise is severely underated in many aspects because people just don't know when the frames are active. Generally speaking poise kicks in when you're roughly halfway through your animation. You're not going to find poise for most light weapon r1's, they're usually going to be more noticeable in strong attacks. The windows of poise for light weapons are only noticable at the end of your swing, which still can be used to reposition out of getting two hits. Taking the time to figure out when it activates and isn't active on enemy attacks is incredibly, incredibly helpful for PvP.

        • Anonymous

          05 Sep 2020 03:13  

          getting aids while looking at these comments, ds1 poise system is really braindead and ****ty, ds2's poise system was actually alright, and ds3 still has the best poise system honestly, like people complain about getting hit out of hyperarmor but they dont look at poise break points or take the time to learn what weapons you can trade with, like no bro you cant use a gs and outrade an ugs thats just brainded, also i like how sometimes you get poise in your rolls, also people really need to learn about reset poise, this system actually gives complexity to the game, people need to realize an active poise system is just braindead like i dont want a havel monster with a curved sword spamming r1 at me

          • Anonymous

            01 Sep 2020 11:45  

            "Let's just hate active poise in previous games because we like too much to smash that r1 button" - total idiots. They give the stupidest excuses like "wItH tHiS pOiSe SyStEm YoU hAvE tO ThiNk bEforE atTaCkIng aNd NoT rELy oN TaNkInG ThrOuGh eVeRyThIng", like they ever go anywhere without 2 phantoms behind. Like "To think before attacking" was a justification to the nearly braindead mechanic of "attack with a bigger weapon while they attack". At the end of the day there are nothing but stupid excuses to spam their straight sword.

            • Anonymous

              31 Aug 2020 04:00  

              And here's why I hate DS3. "Use a heavy weapon and armor to trade with enemies to take advantage of the hyper armor poise system." Doesn't work on bosses in NG++++ when Nameless will chunk 1/3rd of your bar in exchange for 1/15ht of his using the Fume UGS and capped str and dex (Yes, I have them at cap, as well as HP.) It's factually better to just avoid attacks with medium armor and a fast swinging weapon against EVERY boss in DS3. Heavy builds are practically not PvE viable in the long run. Yes, you can beat the game with a big weapon and armor, but you can't continue to do so in the intended manner. Eventually you just have to start rolling or blocking, and at that point you may as well not be using heavy armor at all. I really wish, years later, after everything has been said and done, that I liked DS3 more. It's the only Souls game I've gone into multiple NG+'s on, the only one that I've done every possible build with, and BOY do I actually boot it up and miss Dark Souls 2.

              • Anonymous

                13 Aug 2020 22:20  

                They ruined the poise system by focusing on the unnecessary hyper armor. By extension they ruined tank builds and faith builds, so, this "poise" systems does more harm than good. Dark souls 1 and 2 handled it better.

                • Anonymous

                  08 Jul 2020 17:53  

                  Why don't FromSoftware just change the term to "hyperarmour". I miss the good old days where I can just walk with a Havel set without getting staggered T_T

                  • Anonymous

                    31 May 2020 23:33  

                    "Worked as intended, working as intended..." intended by who? The same guy who thought an easy mode for sekiro was a good idea? Fck off. Poise here is a lazy and sorry attempt to counter the consequence of the stupid idea about mixing dark souls and bloodborne, wich resulted in straight swords, curved swords, daggers (REALLY?), whips, etc... to be more effective than axes, greatswords, halberds, etc. Almost 0 strategy, wich ruins dark souls as a game to think before acting and taking care of a situation step by step, and all "oraoraora" bullsht with "hyper armored" small weapons wich is bloodborne all over again. This is why ds1 AND ds2 are superior, as none of those games gives you everything chewed up like a baby.

                    • Anonymous

                      24 May 2020 19:33  

                      For info, if you want to use a spreadsheet to calculate your AP, use the formula: a+b+c+d-(ab+ac+ad+bc+bd+cd)/100+(abc+abd+acd+bcd)/10000-abcd/1000000, where abcd are the Poise values of the individual armour pieces. You can extend this for additional items (ring/spear/shield) by adding all terms for e at each level with "+abcde/100000000" at the end, and so on for f, etc but for non-specialty builds the basic abcd formula will usually be sufficient.

                      • Anonymous

                        11 Apr 2020 07:28  

                        hmm, i can't seem to load this article, it says it dosen't exist, i'm not sure if it's talking about the article or

                        • Anonymous

                          31 Jan 2020 19:36  

                          it looks like you nerd lamos are back to actually timing your attacks and rolls, now that you can't brute force through the entire game anymore

                          • Anonymous

                            14 Jan 2020 10:57  

                            Some info about poise values of weapon arts would really help. I mean, everybody knows perseverance gives you ds1 s poise, but i don t think everyone knows a straight sword s 2h WA strong attack poises through a hammer s r1

                            • Anonymous

                              05 Nov 2019 17:37  

                              I think this poise system is the best. I've recently played all of the games in the series and this was the best use of poise. In ds1, it was annoying as some of the main builds were a heavy armour, FaP ring, havels ring, some strength weapon or a fast dex weapon. Ds2 was similar but was better since weight load and stamina were separate stats you had to level up individually. This made poise a stat you sought out rather than one you go with since you happened to make endurance a high stat when you wanted more stamina. Ds3 made poise something that you had to put thought into. Should you tank the hit and trade or should you dodge? Can you even trade? If you used poise, you put thought into the attacks and didn't just tank the hits and then attack once they were out of stamina.

                              • Anonymous

                                21 Sep 2019 04:19  

                                Poise in this game isnt the same as in Dark Souls and just cause it isnt doesnt mean it doesnt exist. Can't people not *****ing understand

                                • Anonymous

                                  09 Sep 2019 13:20  

                                  i seriously think that ALL weapons should have SONE SORT of active poise on heavy attacks. cosplaying as a lothric knight, charging a heavy attack with the straight sword, just feels STUPID to be stunned out by being smacked from a guy with a dagger...like, come on. At least make poise usable with all weapons to some extent and not just the big ones, because it's just encouraging more people to use them. There wouldn't be so many R1 spammers around if R2's were made just a LITTLE bit safer to use, at least.

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